Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo (2014)
“The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.” -Goodreads
pooled ink Review:
Overall this book was a solid conclusion to the Grisha Trilogy. Thank goodness. Endings are tricky things indeed but I feel that Bardugo did a solid job. She left bits up to interpretation, bits a tad open-ended, bits to spark fan theories and readers’ imaginations. But all in all everything was nicely concluded. The important stuff was finished, explained, etc. And I really feel that her ending, while definitely controversial amongst readers, was fitting. Sure the girl inside of me that grew up on Disney Princess movies and happily ever afters was screaming “Nooooo!” but even that was only ever half-hearted and the more I thought and reflected on it all I realized I felt at peace with the ending and that it was exactly the ending these characters and this series needed.
This book was messy and dark and troubling and hopeful and completely void of hope. It was full of confusion and love and betrayal and humor and loss. Yes, well done indeed Bardugo. The first book in this trilogy sucked me in instantly. The second wasn’t as good as the first, save Nikolai, but when ever are they really? The third, well, the third was fitting and satisfying and brought the whole trilogy together in an avid puzzler’s sigh of completion. The story of the Sun Summoner and the Darkling has been told. It began, it developed, it ended.
But the epilogue lives on.
So yes. Now that I’ve completed the trilogy I will most certainly recommend it to fellow fans of YA Fiction. Even I know that after a touch of time and distance I will re-read the series in earnest and the part I will be most looking forward to? Why the many quips and ever humorous lines delivered by Nikolai (obviously) and Harshaw (surprisingly). They definitely made me smile and chuckle out loud throughout the series! Bardugo is most certainly gifted in writing funny-sarcastic-but-not-sarcastic-crazy-left-field-totally-random-but-totally-perfect lines. She’s succeeded in this throughout the series but never so greatly as with Nikolai and then Harshaw.
Oh oh and before I end this rambling review I must also add Bardugo’s skill in creating an ever evolving and intriguing villain. You just can’t help but sympathize, love, and hate the Darkling all at the same time. He makes me (and Alina) feel so conflicted that even though reason and fact is demanding one thing my emotions and nature can’t help but wonder “what-if?” And it’s this that Bardugo is able to masterfully maintain in the reader and within Alina Starkov and ultimately leads to an ending I can support. I will forever give Alina a firm nod and sad smile of approval because she did not end in hate. Killing should never be done in hate.
But if I’m honest my heart will always wish there were another way as it breaks for the Darkling. Should I feel this way for the villain? I don’t know, but I do and probably always will.
Purchase here: Ruin and Rising